Join MYM’s Colin on Sunday, May 21 @2pm at @englewoodlibrary with Jaylen Tang, a junior at Tenafly High School, who is holding an event that includes an exhibit he has created to bring awareness to the community about teen mental health.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Jaylen’s exhibit will feature 73 binders representing the number of young adults ages 15-24 who tragically died by suicide in New Jersey in 2022. Jaylen worked with the NJ Department of Health, Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner, in order to get the accurate number to represent.
Each binder will contain 100 pages with the first 15-24 pages being in color and the remaining pages left blank representing that the young adult did not have a chance to finish writing their story. Each binder will have a quote on the front that a young adult who died by suicide might have said along with having the symbol of a large period underneath the quote representing the end of their story.
Jaylen’s hope is that this exhibit will be visually impactful and bring attention to the challenges that young adults face. In addition to the Minding Your Mind speaker, there will be support materials as a resource for attendees to take with them and 100 fleece comfort blankets supplied by Minding Your Mind will be given away to attendees to help raise awareness.
After the exhibit, the quotes and the period will be removed from the front of the binders and they will be donated to either a local school in an underserved area or will be sent to Ukraine as school supplies for children there.
As Jaylen has shared, this initiative is important to him because during the pandemic he noticed that isolation was taking a toll on his own mental health and that of his friends. They found that speaking about it was helpful in overcoming the feelings of loneliness. Also, this past summer, a camp counselor told Jaylen how his father died by suicide and that inspired Jaylen to do something to try to bring awareness regarding teen suicide to his community and help foster more conversations around mental health so that people feel less alone in their own struggles.